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COVID-19 vaccine distribution expands

The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program will be activated in the state starting Thursday.  The program for COVID-19 vaccination is a collaboration between the federal government, states and territories, and 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks, to increase access to COVID-19 vaccination across the U.S.

State Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said that the four retailers initially participating in South Dakota include: pharmacies supplied by Cardinal Health, Hy-Vee Pharmacy, Lewis Drug and Walmart Pharmacy. The initial activation includes 13 retail sites statewide, including locations in Brookings, Huron, Watertown, Mitchell, Pierre, Hartford, and Sioux Falls.  Malsam-Rysdon said the pharmacies will follow the state’s vaccination plan.

Participating retail pharmacies in the state will receive an initial allotment of 26-hundred doses a week total from the federal government, which is not subtracted from the state’s already established weekly allotment of approximately 13-thousand-500 doses.  As vaccine supply increases in the future, participating locations and their designated allotment is also expected to increase accordingly.

The state Department of Health also announced Wednesday that the age for those qualified to receive the vaccine will be lowered again starting next week.

This was previously 75 and over and will continue to be decreased in five-year increments in the coming weeks as vaccine supply allows.  

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